SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - "Fast" Jack Beckman was hoping to help out his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan by eliminating Robert Hight in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals ...
SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - "Fast" Jack Beckman was hoping to help out his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan by eliminating Robert Hight in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals today.
Entering the first round, Hagan was in 10th place and Hight in 12th in the point standings. Only the top 10 vie for the championship in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which begin following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend for the final six events.
But it wasn't to be. Not only did polesitter Hagan lose his first-round match-up over Cruz Pedregon, Beckman bowed out to Hight in the same stanza. Hagan fell to 11th place.
Beckman tore down the 1000-foot track in 4.153 seconds at 299.80 mph, the second quickest pass of that round, but he couldn't hold off Hight's slower but winning 4.159/299.06. Margin of victory: 13 feet.
"It stings for a few hours after losing on a holeshot," said Beckman, who is now fifth in the standings. Staging positions have a lot to do with it and I didn’t bump in much. But we should have won that race. And that goes back to the driver, and I needed to get there first. So, it's tough for us. We wanted to stay in the top four, so now we'll have to battle it out in the next three races to move up higher in the rankings before the Countdown begins.
"It's tough for our teammate Hagan. We want to keep him in the top 10, and I think we missed an opportunity there. I'm going to be working on reaction times before we get to Brainerd.
"We have a great running hot rod. We really do. We were second low ET of that round and we got down the track almost every run. So, there's a lot of reason to be optimistic going into Brainerd.
"The best cure for getting down about a first-round loss is to go win the next race, and that's what we need to work on."
Next up is the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14-16.